Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher is asking the community to come together to help reverse the current trend of rising numbers of positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Following an address from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott outlining statewide increases in new positive cases of the disease and hospitalizations for it, Kutscher agreed that people need to pitch in for change. People statewide need to go back to practicing social distancing as they did a couple weeks ago, prioritize hygiene, and wear face coverings when around others, Abbott said.
“I think that’s a correct way to look at things,” Kutscher said. “I think we do need to practice social distancing as a community, as a county and as a state.”
In the early days of the pandemic showing up in Texas, people across the state took it very seriously and took steps to help curb the spread, Abbott said.
Those actions as well as emergency declarations and a shut down of the state and its economy helped stem the spread of the disease and prevent an early overtaxing of hospitals across the state, the governor said. Since around Memorial Day, data show more people being confirmed to have contracted the disease and more people being hospitalized for it, Abbott said.
“We succeeded in that early goal by following the best practices to make sure that we did slow the spread,” he said. “And as a result, we did prevent our hospitals from getting overrun. As we gather today, hospitals continue to have abundant capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.”
He laid out guidelines from the beginning to direct the state’s response to the pandemic and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Abbott said.
Adherence to the guidelines will help avoid going back to a shut down of the state, the governor said, adding that he wants to avoid the strict closures seen earlier but they remain an option.
“The way that hospitalizations are spiking, the way that daily new cases are spiking, surely the public can understand that if those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary to make sure that we maintain the health and safety of the people of the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
Increasing numbers of positive test results could be a combination of more people being tested and the Texas Department of State Health Services changing the way in reports cases, Kutscher said.
The state has begun to include probable cases as positive cases, meaning people who live with others who have tested positive are counted as probable and, in turn, positive, he said.
Being tested is a good thing, Kutscher said. But the numbers of people being tested should be reported alongside numbers of positive test results, he said.
Guadalupe County has been host to five public testing sites. The first two in Schertz and the first one in Seguin saw about 50 patients each.
A fourth pop-up COVID-19 testing site reportedly had more than 250 people attend. A site that took place Monday, reportedly had 500 people register for testing, and 440 people show up.
Also possibly contributing to the higher numbers is a diminishing willingness of people to stay away from others, the judge said.
“It’s really hard for us to say what’s happening,” Kutscher said. “All we can do is recommend people practice social distancing, practice safe hygiene and when they can’t practice social distancing, wear a face mask or face covering.”